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Venice Canals © Ryan Vaarsi / Flickr
Venice Canals © Ryan Vaarsi / Flickr

The Top 10 Things To Do & See In Venice

Picture of Caitlin Leonard
Updated: 9 February 2017
Venice, California, has always done its own thing. Founded in 1905, it started out as an alternative area. Developer Abbot Kinney founded it to be the ‘Venice of America.’ This posh and bohemian community offers the chance to explore Italian-inspired canals and an expanding restaurant scene. Known for its famous boardwalk, biking trails, and beautiful beaches, discovering the best in Venice is a matter of delving into these major attractions, and uncovering a few hidden gems along the way.

Jay’s Rentals Venice Beach

Jays Rentals has become a staple in the community. In a prime location right off Venice Beach, the rental shop offers everything needed to enjoy a day outside. The family-owned business caters to the whole family, with everything from bicycles, to surfboards, roller stakes, accessible bikes, and baby seats. Jay’s is known for being featured in commercials and films (including TV’s Wilfred), and Leonardo DiCaprio favors the spot for a bike rental. Jay’s focuses on fun and friendly customer service and always goes above and beyond to meet guests’ highest expectations.

1501 Ocean Front Walk, Venice, CA, USA + 1 310 392 7306

Jay’s Rentals | Courtesy of Jay’s Rentals Venice Beach

Jay’s Rentals | Courtesy of Jay’s Rentals Venice Beach


High Rooftop Lounge – Hotel Erwin

Wondering where to find the best view in the city? Look no further than High Rooftop Lounge, atop Hotel Erwin. Watch sunsets while enjoying one of the specialty drink creations, like the Ocean Breeze (with guava purée and jalapeño) or Chaos Theory (with pineapple and peach schnapps). The lounge also carries many wine and beer offerings, along with a menu including sliders with applewood smoked bacon and grilled mahi-mahi tacos. It’s easy to let your cares go free. This is the perfect place to end a beach day while relaxing with friends.

1697 Pacific Ave, Venice, CA, USA +1 310 452 1111

High Rooftop Lounge | Courtesy of Hotel Erwin

High Rooftop Lounge | Courtesy of Hotel Erwin

The Rose Café

An ingrained part of the culture of Venice since 1979, The Rose Café is a must-try on a visit to the city. The full market and café re-opened this past November, now the project of Southern California’s own Chef Jason Neroni. The indoor/outdoor dining spot is an iconic one. The bakery celebrates American classics, using the best fresh ingredients from the local farmers’ market. Enjoy a Southern California breakfast with house-made smoothies and the rose breakfast burrito. Lunch could be a lamb shawarma pizza or a ricotta gnocchi and a wakame spaghetti or a seasonal vegetable tartlet for dinner. Peruse works from local artists on the walls, among a décor of textured tiles and white oak that reflects the spirit of the city.

220 Rose Ave, Venice, CA, USA +1 310 399 0711

Rose Café | Courtesy of Rose Café

Rose Café | Courtesy of Rose Café

The Beach at Venice Beach

The famed Venice Beach is a hard spot to miss in the city. One of the main attractions, it offers the perfect location to enjoy the best of the Californian lifestyle. Relax and play among the Pacific waves while soaking up the beauty of the surroundings on the coast. Beneath idyllic palm trees in a place where it’s sunny year round, you can let all of your troubles melt away.

Venice Beach Boardwalk

With over 16 million visitors a year, the Venice Beach Boardwalk is known as one of the top free things to do in all of Los Angeles. The Ocean Front Walk stretches out along for three miles beside Venice Beach with something for everyone. It has a collection of eclectic shops, cafés, and vendors, and you can find anything from beach volleyball courts to a paved skateboard park. Enjoy street performers with other visitors and then continue on to Muscle Beach outdoor gym to try out the gymnastics playground, beach volleyball courts, and skate dancing plaza.

Venice Beach Boardwalk © Jon Rawlison/Flickr

Venice Beach Boardwalk © Jon Rawlison/ Flickr


Venice Beach Bike Path

One of the most popular activities in Venice, the bike path by the beach is an easy and entertaining way to enjoy the California sun. The popular path runs between the boardwalk and famous Venice Beach, continuing up the coast to Santa Monica Beach. On a bike, skateboard, roller skates, or by foot, the rental shops nearby make it automatically a great choice to spend the day. Enjoy the popular spot by bringing your camera to capture some unique photos of people and a colorful scenery you won’t ever be able to re-create.

Venice Canal Historic District

A unique creation from the mind of the city’s founder, Abbot Kinney, the Venice Canals are an echo of their European counterparts. Known as one of the best places in Los Angeles to take a leisurely stroll, many of the homes surrounding the canals have been restored. The original canals stretched for 16 miles, but now they last for a few blocks. Just south of Venice Boulevard and just minutes from the beach, the canals are a necessary spot to explore to get the best of the culture and history of Venice.

Venice Canals © Ryan Vaarsi/Flickr

Venice Canals © Ryan Vaarsi/Flickr

Abbot Kinney Boulevard

Dubbed the ‘coolest block in America‘ by GQ, Abbot Kinney Boulevard is one of the most creative spots in the city. It is a prime location to get some shopping done while taking in the sights and sounds that characterize the spirit of Venice. Explore the best boutiques, bars, restaurants, and galleries. Find everything from vintage denim and out-of-print books to your new favorite cup of java at Intelligentsia.

Abbot Kinney Blvd © Sullivan/Flickr

Abbot Kinney Blvd © Kari Sullivan/Flickr


Venice Public Art Walls

Officially given a name in 2007, The Venice Public Art Walls were originally part of the Venice Pavilion building. Casually dubbed ‘the graffiti pit,’ the walls are all that remain of the pavilion, sporting murals of graffiti art from the ’60s. Up until the year 2000, it was technically illegal to adorn the walls with imagery, but it now has become a protected and beloved space to create and experience part of the history of Venice and its people.

1800 Oceanfront Walk, Venice, CA, USA


Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary

The little-known Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary is found in a small park in Venice that used to be a rundown public lot. Find and enjoy the sight of a bright orange flurry of the creatures congregating on a stop between Northern California and Mexico.

Pacific Avenue and 29th St, Venice, CA, USA


By Caitlin Leonard